Health is at the center of our programs in Kenya. In Migori County, where Lwala is located, HIV rates are 16-20%, triple the national average. In addition, rates of infant and maternal mortality in the region are high. Out of every 1,000 births, 95 babies will die before their 1st birthday, more than 10 times as many in the U.S. Due to the threats of HIV, malaria, other infectious diseases, and poor sanitation, life expectancy in the region hovers just above 40 years. In order to combat these threats to well-being, our programs focus both on treatment at the hospital and prevention through health education and outreach in the community.
The Lwala Community Hospital provides primary care, maternal and reproductive health services, and HIV care and treatment. Fully staffed by Kenyan clinicians, the 12-bed facility cares for 2,800 patient visits each month. The most common illnesses treated are malaria, respiratory infections, parasites, diarrhea, HIV, and TB. In the last 2 years, the number of patient visits has more than doubled – which drives our need for more hospital space and more clinical staff.
Since Milton and Fred Ochieng’ were Vanderbilt medical students, Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been a primary supporter of the efforts in Lwala. Each year, Lwala hosts Vanderbilt graduate and medical students in an immersion course at the Lwala Community Hospital.
In 2014, we broke ground on a hospital expansion, which is scheduled to be complete in Fall 2015. With this new wing, we will accommodate 16 in-patient beds and additional rooms for well-child and prenatal visits. We are also equipping the facility for transition to electronic medical records and strengthening our diagnostics with a new laboratory through our partnership with The Charitable Foundation. This expansion is made possible through the gifts of generous individuals and our partners Ronald McDonald House Charities, Health eVillages, and Izumi Foundation.
In 2009, Lwala Community Alliance made a public commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative to enhance the quality and extend the reach of maternal and child health services in Lwala. Through fulfillment of that vision, we’ve transformed maternal health care in Lwala, Kenya and had remarkable impact in the lives of mothers and babies. Currently, 94% percent of pregnant women are delivering at a health facility with a skilled nurse, up from 26% before our commitment. A team of community health workers recruit and enroll all pregnant women in the service area to participate in the entire continuum of maternal, neonatal and child health care. In addition, Real Medicine Foundation supports a portion of medicine costs for children under 5, clinical staff salaries, some ambulance repairs and fuel, and hospital referral costs.
In our hospital facility, there are 1,200 community members on ongoing HIV care and treatment. With our partners, the Kenyan Ministry of Health, FACES, Blood:Water Mission, and the University of California San Francisco, we provide testing, HIV care and treatment, and ongoing primary care to individuals infected by HIV. With help with BD, we offer CD4 testing directly on-site at our laboratory. Our holistic services include support groups, HIV+ mentors, home visits, and engagement in economic development programs.
Strengthening our HIV program is a major organizational goal over the next 5 years - with a greater focus on prevention, identifying and enrolling all those who need care and treatment, increasing quality of care, and virtually eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV. To this end, we are working with Blood:Water Mission to improve the quality and availability of comprehensive HIV/AIDS health care and support services for individuals living with HIV. This will be accomplished by building the skill level of Lwala Community Hospital staff to provide quality HIV services, funding the provision of clinical and psychosocial HIV services, and strengthening the Lwala Community Alliance as a Kenyan civil society organization.
You can help us sustain our existing programs and roll out further initiatives by making a donation now.